Nomeansno / Potty Umbrella The Starlight, Waterloo ON April 19
Published Apr 20, 2009"Has anybody here seen us in the past couple of nights," Nomeansno bassist Rob Wright asked of a Sunday night Starlight crowd, many of whom roared back in the affirmative. "Well, you're about to see the same fucking shit ladies and gentlemen." Indeed, Victoria-bred punk institution Nomeansno played an entertaining set identical to that from the night before in Toronto, but their precise execution of utterly unique, energetic songs from a career spanning 30 years is a feat most young bands can only dream of mimicking.
For their first Canadian shows, Poland's Potty Umbrella were visibly thrilled to be touring with Nomeansno. The unusual configuration blurred many generic lines, incorporating prog, jazz, jammy stoner-blues, and post-punk for a warm, endearing sound, which culminated in a spirited, instrumental take on Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." The song's residue served as the perfect introduction for an arty hardcore band that've endured decades of transient audiences and tastes simply by maintaining their uncommon vision and work ethic.
Opening with a new epic called "Old," which may be the title track to a forthcoming twelve-inch single, Nomeansno thundered and roared through a great, unfamiliar song with pointed abandon, before unleashing "Oh No! Bruno" on an appreciative crowd of throwback body slammers.
Mayhem hung in the air for the hilarious, John Wright-led "Humans" and the sardonic "Mondo Nihilissimo 2000," which guitarist Tom Holliston dug into with relish. "The Day Everything Became Nothing," "Kill Everyone Now" and "All Lies" each possessed a visceral darkness, which was measured by straight-ahead punk pop songs like "So Low" and "Slugs are Burning," blurring the already absurd distinction between Nomeansno's ambition and the Hanson Brothers purposeful "lunkheadedness" (further emphasized by "Stick Boy" during the encore).
Introducing "Jubilation," a new, melodically upbeat song, Rob suggested it was a song that a contemporary, hipster punk band would be better suited for. As witnessed on this night, however, there's simply nothing like Nomeansno anywhere on the planet - a collective realization that made their latest Waterloo stop that much more euphoric.